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Research Time Management

Organize your research projects by learning new time management and project management skills. You will learn how to break down research projects, set up a schedule for time management, and create a step-by-step process with a timeline to get it done.

Write a Project Timeline

 Creating a Project Timeline 



  • Identify subtasks 
  • Identify deadlines for subtasks

Take a look at this sample research timeline. This sample timeline shows you how to break down tasks over time.

  • Work backwards from the due date and create a timeline 
  • Target for what you want to accomplish and when
  • In a group project? Use the timeline to assign tasks to group members and agree on when specific parts will be done.  



Target dates

   Research tasks

    Get help

Final paper due!

  • April 22

  • Submit your final project

  • Relax!


1-3 days before

  • April 18-21
  • Edit and proofread your paper
  • Double-check the requirements


1 week before

  • April 11-18
  • Continue to revise your project
  • Verify references and citations


Draft due!

  • April 8

  • Draft Due!
  • Double-check requirements


2 weeks before

  • April 3-7
  • Work on your rough draft
  • Appropriately incorporate and cite paraphrased ideas and quotes
  • Do more research if you do not have enough supporting documentation


2-3 weeks before

  • March 18- April 2
  • Develop an outline
  • Find, read, and evaluate your secondary sources


3- 4 weeks before

  • March 3-17
  • Finalize your research focus
  • Do some initial, background research


Semester Starts

  • January 7
  • Check the syllabus for important project dates
  • Complete a research project summary and create a timeline


Other subtasks

Tests, Lab reports, and Presentations 

For a speech or presentation, consider the following subtasks
  • identifying a topic
  • research
  • writing talking points
  • creating visual aids, including finding images 
  • transitions
  • practice timing the speech
For a lab report, consider the following subtasks
  • understanding the experiment
  • completing the experiment
  • interpret and synthesize results
  • research for introductory, support information
  • write lab report
  • revisions and edits
Studying for a test, consider the following subtasks
  • Organize materials and notes
  • First review of notes and materials, big picture
  • Second review a few days later, to review more challenging concepts
  • Third review, a few days later, synthesize
  • Fourth review/self test a few days before the test
  • Schedule a time to meet with instructor to review concepts you don't understand
  • day of pep talk, relax, quick review an hour before the exam.

Strategies for multi-semester projects

Research Time Management for Multi-semester Projects

Strategies for a longer research project are similar to short projects: identify the scope, break the project down into smaller stages, target deadlines.